STL witness: Badreddine, Issa were same person.
Summary: Prosecution analyst Andrew Donaldson argued that "Personal Mobile Phone 663" and "PMP 354" belonged to Mustafa Badreddine at Wednesday's hearing of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
BEIRUT: Prosecution analyst Andrew Donaldson argued that "Personal Mobile Phone 663" and "PMP 354" belonged to Mustafa Badreddine at Wednesday's hearing of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. Badreddine, one of the five men indicted for the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, allegedly created multiple identities, one being Sami Issa, a jeweler form Jounieh.
To prove that PMP 663 and PMP 354 were used by Badreddine under both his given name and his alias, the prosecution exhibited text messages that referred to the cell user under both names.
Prosecution counselor Alison de Bruir presented a copy of the Hezbollah commander's original birth certificate, showing his date of birth as April 6, 1961. She then asked Donaldson to disclose birthday text messages sent to PMP 663 and PMP 354 on the same day, addressed to both Badreddine and Issa.
Donaldson continued by disclosing messages sent by students from the Lebanese American University, which indicated that Badreddine used the alias Issa. One text message from an LAU student read, "Hey mr. Issa, or is it badr ;)," establishing the possibility that the receiver went by multiple names.
Official registration records from LAU showed that Badreddine enrolled as a student in 2000 under his given name.
However, multiple witnesses who were fellow students of Badreddine's testified that they knew him under the name Sami Issa.
The prosecution then referenced witness statements made in prior hearings that revealed that his fellow students were confused when attendance roll calls referred to him as Badreddine.
At the end of Wednesday's session, Donaldson connected the two identities through a physical attribute of Badreddine's. Text messages sent to PMP 663 referred to a limp that Badreddine was known to have suffered from.
De Bruir referenced previous witness statements from LAU students, who corroborated that a man whom they believed to be called Issa walked with a limp.
Cellphone records have been critical for the prosecution in making their case as the four indicted men are being tried in absentia.
Following Badreddine's death in Syria last May, official indictments were dropped against the top Hezbollah commander. However, due to a substantial amount of evidence supporting his role in the 2005 Beirut bombing and his links to the remaining four indicted suspects, the prosecution has continued to push forward proving his involvement.
Donaldson is expected to continue giving testimony Thursday.
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|Publication:||The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)|
|Date:||Jul 6, 2017|
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